Three things they never tell you about having a baby

We’ve all heard of the blessings that seem to come bundled with your newborn. We’ve all been around babies and their parents, and chances are most of you who aspire to have your own spawn have looked at your partners sheepishly as they play with someone else’s baby, stuck in a reverie of starting your own little family. How beautiful your life would be with that 18-inch, 8-lb being.

Having been a parent for 50 days, I have this to tell every child-bearer who inspired me to be one: Fuck. You.

Having a baby is more shit than giggles and feels like playing Demon’s Souls blindfolded using the Rock Band guitar as a controller. All the bullshit my wife and I had prepared ourselves for, all the knowledge we had naively deemed suffice, all the information our parents attempted to “enlighten” us with, all of it amounted to a handful of irrelevant crumbs and anecdotes which leads me to my first point:

Do not listen to what other people have to say. At least try not to.

Everyone’s an expert, and everyone deserves an honorary PhD in pediatrics. Your neighbor just gave birth to her first child? Heed her words for she is all-knowing and has seen it all. Your father’s last experience in raising a child was a little over 30 years ago? He knows exactly what he is on about and can answer all your questions in 5,000 words or more. The truth is no one really knows anything about your child, not even the nurses who have clocked in thousands of hours with babies and newborns. Give everyone a listen and resist the temptation to tell them off as their helping hand will quickly turn to a ranting lip. Do your thing: Parenthood is a visceral and empirical experience, and much as they would have you believe, there are no straight answers, and there is no one way to deal with situations.

Should my baby cry it out, or should I run to their rescue?

If you’re the parent who identifies with the latter, know that it is you who is being rescued, not your child. My wife and I have researched this subject immensely and share opposing views. Where she is all heart and looks at our son as a fragile being in need of affection, I see a nagger who needs to suck it up and learn to soothe himself. “He’s only one month old!” she says. “He does not know any better. My friend told me that one time, her daughter cried for three hours before puking on account of all the stress she was being put under.” Claptrap, if you ask me. Much like every other creature born under this sun, he will learn to suck it up. Studies have been made on baby boys who are attached to their pacifiers, and the results seem to indicate that most of them grow up to suffer from emotional issues. More claptrap were you to ask me. You will have to establish your own methods when it comes to this matter, and a healthy balance of ‘I love you’ and ‘I am ignoring you’ is the best way to go about it. You will eventually come to know when your child is bothered, when he is in pain, when he’s nagging, and when she’s just relieving herself. Go with your gut, it’s worked for everyone else before you.

Engorgement

How many times have you heard of the wonders and joys of breastfeeding your child? How many stories have you been forced to sit through that center on the magical bond that is miraculously formed between a mother’s bosom and her children? In between all the “wonders” and “miracles,” we had never heard of the word ‘engorgement’ and no one had even mentioned it to us before my wife started suffering from it. For those of you who are yet to discover it, engorgement is when the mother’s breast(s) are full of milk that is not going anywhere, either because her baby did not feed or because she has not pumped. The pain, apparently, is excruciating at times. In her need to explain it to me, my wife said that it feels like your finger would if you kept tying a string around it; that pressure you feel due to blood being blocked? Multiply the pain and discomfort two-fold and you have yourself a good idea of how it feels. Is there a secret underground coalition that only admits parents and whose sole creed is the withholding of crucial details and information? It seems all parents are goobers who are quick to forget the pains and toils when asked questions of this nature: “How is it like raising a child?” “Oh, it’s marvelous. It’s a blessing. We can’t imagine our lives without them. Wait until they coo, hee hee.”

Wait until I hunt you down and ram my fist in your stomachs.

Published by Spark Makki

A writer and copy editor who sleeps because he has to and dreams because he can't afford not to.

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